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The CSB has asked for comments on their 2012-2016 Strategic Plan by April 12, 2012. You can see the plan at:

http://www.csb.gov/assets/news/document/CSB_Strat_Plan_Web_Posting_(3-26-2012).pdf

You can send your comments by email to strategicplan@csb.gov.

My thought was that the strategic plan needed more specifics as far as the strategies to be adopted. For example, there were five sub-goals under “Goal 3: Preserve the public trust by maintaining and improving organizational excellence.” One of these was “Maintain effective human capital management by promoting development in leadership, technical, and analytical competencies.

The document referred to several other plans, (the “CSB Human Capital Plan for Fiscal Years 2011 – 2015,” the “Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Workforce Planning Model,” and the “OPM Strategic Leadership Management Model”), that were not readily available on the CSB web site or by a link in the Strategic Plan. Thus, the specifics of the plan are largely unknown and unknowable.

For example, I would like to see an easy link to the qualification requirements and training program for CSB investigators. This could be helpful so that others could see what the CSB considers an adequately qualified investigator.

It would also be interesting for the CSB to detail what they are doing to learn industry best practices for root cause analysis, interviewing, corrective action development, and accident prevention. But these details are not easily available.

Also, I would think that many TapRooT® Users would suggest that the CSB have a core of investigators familiar with the TapRooT® System that is used extensively across the chemical, petrochemical, and oil industry. This would help them interface with industry personnel and provide them the knowledge they need to evaluate industry incident reports produced using TapRooT®.

Finally, I would also think that TapRooT® Users would like to see continued participation of the CSB in ongoing TapRooT® Summits where industry best practices about root cause analysis and accident prevention are shared. Participation in the TapRooT® Summit and other industry conferences should be spelled out as part of the strategy to keep up with the state-of-the-art in the chemical industry.

One other item that deserves comments is the timeliness of CSB accident reports. Frequently, these reports are more than a year after the accident. Important investigations, (for example, BP Texas City, and the still unreleased BP Deepwater Horizon investigations), take more than two years. By the time the investigations are released, the industry has already implemented corrective actions and moved along. I would like to see a specific strategy/plan to improve the timeliness of investigations to avoid late investigations that have limited industry impact because of their tardiness.

One final thought … because having an effective independent evaluation of major accidents is so important, I highly recommend that readers in the chemical industry take the time to read the CSB Strategic Plan and provide your comments before April 12. You can’t complain about the outcome if you don’t comment when asked.